Smart apps can improve medical devices

Smart apps are gaining ground in many industries and their impact is being noticed in the medical device field where they are enabling a more proactive approach to manufacturing

Smart apps can improve medical devices
Credit: Pixabay

It seems like every day we’re hearing about how smart apps are impacting our world. From Siri, Cortana and other chatbots acting as our personal assistants, and the IoT (internet of things) monitoring our homes and cars, to AI powerhouses like Watson focusing on personalized cancer treatments, it seems like smart apps are becoming ubiquitous.

In healthcare, patient-centered care is on the verge of a game-changing makeover as consumers increasingly embrace wearable devices, home monitoring tools and mobile health apps. The launch of technologically advanced “smart” devices and analytics software, rising rates of chronic diseases and the increasing need for cost-effective treatment and disease management are expected to fuel the growth of this market.

For example, smart apps are providing critical value in the medical devices industry, where companies are applying predictive analytics -- a type of AI that incorporates machine learning -- to circumvent the high cost of device failures. Developing a device is a costly and time-consuming process. When a device fails, an engineer needs to spend time evaluating the problem and attempting to correct it.

Imagine if manufacturers could know in advance which devices are likely to fail before they are too far down the manufacturing process. Think about all the problems that could be avoided, and the time that could be saved and instead re-allocated to other, more promising devices. And also, think about all the time and costs in resources and raw materials that’s wasted – and above all, the safety concerns that arise -- if a defective device makes it to market and then needs to be recalled. On top of that, consider the sometimes irreparable damage it causes to a company’s reputation and stock price.

Currently, manufacturing works in more of a fault reactive mode, addressing defects and problems as they arise. But by applying predictive analytics, companies can make the shift to a defect proactive mode to avoid potential problems before they happen, and look at the variables and data to know with a high degree of probability which products will sail and which will fail. It also frees up medical device manufacturers from spending 90% of their time focusing on product reviews and addressing problems, so they can spend more time on strategic approaches and innovations. It’s certainly a win-win situation for everyone, companies and consumers alike.

The cost for these smart tools will pay for themselves in the sheer engineering man hours they save alone. And they open a world of possibilities for new opportunities, processes and innovations.

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